Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tell lice to get lost

For the past three weeks, we have been struggling with getting rid of head lice. These creepy-crawlers have become the bane of our existence, with constant treatments, combing, checking, re-checking, hoping we've gotten rid of them all, only to have a child complain of itching again a week later (and sure enough, there they are, which shows we must have missed a couple of nits). For some reason they prefer Shira (though Tehilla has much thicker hair, which you'd think would be head lice heaven). 

I've tried several over-the-counter remedies, and read many tips for home treatments - including smothering your hair in anything from mayo to olive oil to Listerine (by the way, if anyone has a good strategy to share, I'll be most happy to hear it). Today, I came across this article, which not only made me almost choke on my cup of tea with giggling, but also contains some really great tips on thoroughly de-contaminating your children's heads and your home. 

I think a huge factor here is how serious the people around you are about treating lice. When I was a child, back in our "Old Country", lice was considered something to be treated ASAP. Once your parents found some on your head, they freaked out and you were isolated and kept at home (no seeing anyone) until there was no sign of lice or nits and every strand of hair was squeaky clean. Think children spent most of their time in neat little sterile boxes? Nope... almost nobody had lice, because they were always treated on time. Lice were associated with terrible conditions, such as in concentration camps or prisons. In Israel, the attitude is comparably very lax. 

I've actually met some parents who have despaired of ever getting rid of lice completely, and settled on keeping their population down (just so they won't crawl all over the child's face and become a public shame). Their children always have lice, and they rationalize by saying "so what? Everyone has them!". The Israeli Ministry of Education isn't very helpful, with its guidelines which forbid teachers and daycare workers from checking kids' heads (so as not to "shame" anyone), and which declare that no child will ever be sent home because of lice, even if they are live, multiple, and untreated. If one of your children's friends has head lice, it doesn't take much to get an infestation. If left uncontained, it will spread to every person in the house. 

It's either cry or laugh..we hope you laugh

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm aghast. I've never heard of such a thing. What could possibly account for such an attitude???

GinnyBerry said...

I think that the attitude about head lice has gotten much more lax in California schools, too. I've not had big infestations with my students, but things are much more relaxed, with the concern being not letting children lose days of schooling. I disagree with this attitude, but so far it hasn't impacted my class too much so far.

Laura Spilde said...

A couple of weeks ago we had scabies in our household because husband works at nursing home. That was really frightening! All the itching all over the body.

I used tea-tree oil and apple cider vinegar to get it out. I sprayed it on the body three times a day for a week..... I hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

So sorry you are having this problem! I had them once when I was a little kid. My mom put lots of olive oil in my hair and bundled all my hair into a skin-tight swim cap (google "swim cap" in case you don't know what they are) and had me wear it for as long as I could (over an hour) to kill off (suffocate?) any living lice. Then we washed and combed everything out. The process had to be repeated 7-9 days later because the eggs can survive. And maybe do it once more after that for good measure. Comb through carefully every day while you are doing this to get everything out. And of course, clean and vacuum and wash clothes, bedding, and any fabric to make sure nothing is hiding elsewhere in your house. Not an easy thing to deal with!

Anonymous said...

O my, things are different here in Michigan,,,,children are checked and sent home right away....they can't go back to school unless checked and combed for nits in the school office and given the OK!.. Parents go bonkers when they find one ! every part of the house is torn apart and nearly boiled , my friend Jenny stood out in the school parking lot crying and sobbing hysterically when her daughter with waist length hair was found to have lice , I felt so bad for her I went home with her and washed every bit of linen she owned , lice around here is not much of a problem probably because of the (maybe) over reaction. We hear that people who wash their childrens hair daily are more likely to get lice...and we hear using hair spray on their hair daily keeps them off. I washed my girls hair almost daily but I also used hairspray daily on them too and never had lice..almost impossible to keep them free I imagine if other children have them. Kids always play putting their heads together as they play or read or color. Maybe try the hairspray thing ! I used it quite heavily . and braided their hair tight to their heads or tight buns...no long flowing tails !Good Luck!Karen

Bethany said...

I found that completely combing through the scalp and hair one or two times a day after using an over the counter product helped me to get rid of them when I got them from my child. It was time consuming but really helped. It is important to get rid of them from the environment, sterilizing hair brushes and combs, bedding and hats, etc.

Leah Brand-Burks said...

YUCK! I hate that for you all. I battled it a few times as a kid, and in the US the attitude is the same as your 'Old Country'--keep the children away from others until you have obliterated the problem completely. Treat all stuffed animals, bedding, boil hair brushes and combs, wash and dry all clothing on very hot settings...you get the idea. It's hard to believe there is such a lax attitude about it there. :-/

Anonymous said...

Hello Anna, just thought I'd share a little of my family's past experience about lice. It was very new to me when my children acquired the little pests a couple times. Once from a little guy I was baby sitting, whose mama owned a parrot, and again from being too close to a family member's caged bird while sitting in her room watching tv. I was told by a doctor, and later by a nurse that it was not possible for a person to get them from an animal, as they are a different type than what we seem to attract. Let me tell ya, they were wrong. And with the high expense for the shampoos that actually work, we found our own method much more affordable and actually better on hair than the prescribed way! That being the use of kerosene! It is safe, and very effective...and leaves the hair well conditioned too! :-)

Anonymous said...

I believe the best method to get rid of the lice is using the " silicon oil"! Really this work 100% sure. Al you have to do is put the oil on the hair and let it sit for minimum 8 hours , than before washing comb out the hair with special comb for the lice.The lice will come very easily out as wel the lice eggs, becouse it can not hold the hair anymore, so the lice drown in oil. You can repeat this after a week and you can be sure the hair will be clean of lice! Loving greetings and hugs from Belgium! with love beata

Lady Anne said...

Hoo, boy! What a mess. I went to a boarding school, and one of the girls kept scratching violently at her head - both hands, and really going at it. Finally the school nurse took a look, and there we were. About fifty girls, from nine to seventeen, all needing to be treated. Head lice must not have been so "tough" in the 50s; I remember having something put on my head that may or may not have been kerosene, and having to wash my hair several times a week. As long as I kept combing or brushing my hair, the stuff didn't bother me, but it itched and burned dreadfully.

The only really good thing is that head lice are not harmful. Body lice are a different breed of bug, and VERY dangerous.

Good luck, my dear!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anna, if nothing else works get a hair straightener and fry those little fuckers! ;D

Anna

Miriam said...

http://coconutoil.com/natural-head-lice-treatment-with-coconut-oil-and-apple-cider-vinegar/

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,My grandaughters used to have multiple infestations yearly.After trying every product under the sun we just use normal hair conditioner on wet hair and a fine toothed comb, after doing this for a week the lice have gone.They are older now and don't have so much head contact with other children so they have become less of a problem.Love your blog.Shalom.
Molly

Miu said...

Wow, I'm really surprised to hear about that attitude.
Here in Germany it is like you described it - treatment immediately! When there was a case in school or kindergarten all the other children got letters home which told their parents to look at their heads and the children who had lice had to stay at home, too.

Anonymous said...

Hi maybe you have conquered the lice, but the one time we had them it took us months, and I tried all of the boughten and home remedies. One daughter in particular had very fine hair, which was also very thick and long and we could never get them all. then someone told me about the Robi come, it has a 9 volt battery and you comb through their hair every day for two weeks. the comb is rubber tipped so you don't get a shock. we were finally lice free in two weeks after literally months

Anonymous said...

http://www.amazon.com/LICE-COMB-ROBI-HEALTH-TECHNOLOGIES/dp/B004N122YE/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1418074742&sr=8-12&keywords=robi+comb

This is the one we used. it worked great, we have several long haired girls in our household

Anonymous said...

Two fold approach: dose the scalp in tea tree oil & cover with a shower cap for a while- this kills the lice. After that, Soak your whole scalp in olive oil, and leave overnight (showercap again!). This kills the eggs.